Horton House Scone Company, the perfect complement to St. Patty’s Day
Married for 20 years, Cynthia and John Vergilii of Amenia’s Horton House Scone Company are indeed a perfect pairing in both life and business. Photo submitted

Horton House Scone Company, the perfect complement to St. Patty’s Day

AMENIA — Residents yearning for something a trifle sweet, relatively healthy and incredibly satisfying — whether on this St. Patrick’s Day, Thursday, March 17, or any other day of the year — will realize they’ve struck gold when they taste what Horton House Scone Company has been baking in Amenia since it opened last May.

Although scones may be traditionally Scottish, rather than Irish, they are nonetheless delicious come St. Patty’s Day or any other time. Especially the ones made by bakers Cynthia and John Vergilii of the Horton House Scone Company.

Before relocating to their new digs in Amenia (from where they ship their scones; they do not have a physical bakery), the Vergiliis previously owned the historic Joseph Horton House in Wappingers Falls. When in the southern end of the county, the duo dressed in costume and held high tea lunches and Colonial dinners.

Over the years, the house became a destination on the local bus tour circuit, welcoming 10,000 people a year.

Well-known for their scones and inventory of Harney & Sons tea, both of which were featured at high tea. They also sold their scones commercially.

Years after selling their house in Wappingers, when considering their next move, their daughter suggested they stay with her in Fishkill. She urged them to return to their tea and scone business.

At John’s suggestion, the couple started selling their baked scones at the Dutchess Flea Market in Fishkill. Between that time, the Vergiliis gave up eating meat and animal products, meaning they were no longer baking with cream, eggs or dairy products.

Asked about the pros and cons of switching to a plant-based diet, Cynthia explained it’s all about making substitutions and finding items that taste just as good. While it can be tricky, the health benefits are highly rewarding.

“If you have the right recipe, you can do just about everything,” Cynthia said, adding that she and John love fooling people with their healthier ingredients that taste just as indulgent.

While at the flea market, the Vergiliis were asked by customers if they had dairy-free, nut-free or gluten-free scones. That inspired them to bake with even healthier ingredients.

After some fine-tuning, Horton House Scone Company had the Vergiliis’ scones circulating through local farmers markets, retail stores and other venues. Just recently, their scones started selling at LaBonne’s Market in Salisbury, Conn.

Cynthia said, “Moving up here was amazing and we didn’t even realize, truly, when we moved here how the people in this area value locally-made and locally-sourced products, so we are thrilled to be able to offer as many local products as we can.”

Asked how their recipes have changed, John said they’ve fine-tuned their baking to use Hudson Valley cold-pressed sunflower oil or grapeseed oil in place of butter, as well as syrup sourced right in Amenia. All of their goodies are sweetened with either maple syrup or ground coconut.

As for her recipe for running a successful business with her husband, Cynthia said, “I would say we love working together; 20 years we’ve been married and we’re best friends.”

Between John’s computer and marketing skills and Cynthia’s creativity and ability to keep their inventory organized, the pair is perfectly paired as both life partners and business partners.

Baking from the comfort of their apartment, they recently added low-sugar cookies to their offerings in addition to their scones.

Cynthia also achieved her dream of pairing their scones with Harney & Sons tea and Irving Farm coffee; both popular manufacturers and retailers from Millerton.

Horton House has gift boxes of “perfect pairings” that put the Vergiliis on the map for presents; John said their merchandise places an emphasis on the beautiful Hudson Valley and its products.

The husband-and-wife duo recommend trying all the teas to find which ones pairs best with their flavorful scones; they’ve created some delicious combinations during the last few months to get scone enthusiasts started.

One suggestion is their blueberry muffin scone with Harney’s “Blueberry Green” tea; or their cinnamon scone with “Hot Cinnamon Spice” tea; their low-sugar chocolate chip cookie with “Chocolate Mint” tea is another winner.

These pairings and others may be found online at www.hortonhousesconecompany.com. To place an order, go to the website or call 207-317-6950; orders are shipped Mondays through Thursdays.

Along with accommodating special requests, the Vergiliis offer custom-made labels for special occasions and are happy to work with people interested in selling their scones at their stores or at special events.

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